As a location for the recreation and socialization of enslaved people, the public square back-of-town was also associated with their resistance. The persistent perpetuation of traditional cultural practices at the Sunday gatherings in Congo Square, shows that many of the gatherers resisted the new ways of the New World. Many of them resisted cultural assimilation long after European practices had been introduced at the gatherings. 


Through the years, activism by citizens of all backgrounds has taken place at the location. The long history of protests by Black New Orleanians includes a streetcar protest in 1867. Congo Square served as the starting point for a march during the city’s recovery period following Hurricane Katrina; protest marches involving the removal of statues representing the Confederate officers and white supremacy; and, most recently, a march protesting the relocation of New Orleans city hall to the municipal auditorium located adjacent to Congo Square. 

More Information

Berry, Jason, “Congo Square Under Siege: The Latest Threat to Black Culture’s Ground Zero in New Orleans.” The Daily Beast (August 4, 2021)

Evans, Freddi Williams, “Treme: Low Hanging Fruit, Ripe for Plucking,” The Gambit. (August, 24, 2021).

Fischer, Roger A. “A Pioneer Protest: The New Orleans Street-Car Controversy of 1867,” The Journal of Negro History 53, no.3 (1968): 219-233.

Michelle, Trelani, “Protecting Sacred Land: Congo Square,” Black Art in America (July, 2021).

Mobley, Juliette and Jeremy Paten. Street Car Protest 1867. New Orleans: Paper Monuments.

Sorapuru, Julian. “Hundreds protest proposed City Hall move to Municipal Auditorium: 'Congo Square is sacred ground'”